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The Newsworthiness of Mass Public Shootings: What Factors Impact the Extent of Coverage?

NCJ Number
Homicide Studies Volume: 25 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2021 Pages: 239-255
Date Published
August 2021
17 pages

This study examined the characteristics of mass public shootings from 2000 through 2019 that impacted the extent of news coverage.


A negative binomial regression predicting AP story counts indicated substantially greater coverage of shootings with a high number of casualties; that target government facilities, schools, or houses of worship; that are perpetrated by younger assailants, particularly with indications of mental illness; that involve terrorism or hate-motivation; that end in the assailant’s arrest rather than death; and, to a lesser extent, that include larger shares of victims who are White, women, children, and strangers. Overall, the disproportionate coverage contributes to distorted perceptions of risk and reinforces inaccurate stereotypes about these crimes. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: August 1, 2021